Even as a proud Englishman I have to admit there was something quite beautiful about the way Wales demolished England this evening to retain the Six Nations Championship.
With the prize of the Grand Slam within their grasp England were outclassed by a team of Welsh dragons, who played with fire in their bellies and produced two beautiful tries to end comfortable winners.
Four penalties from Leigh Halfpenny and two glorious second half tries from Alex Cuthbert topped a classy performance by the home side, who only needed to win by seven points to ensure the title. Video highlights: Wales 30-3 England
England coach Stuart Lancaster said he was “gutted” that his side failed to claim their first Grand Slam since 2003. But the truth was this was another case of stage fright by England, who have a habit of underachieving just when they are expected to flourish.
For me it was painfully obvious from the start that England were relying on their size and strength to overpower the Welsh. But the home side, driven forward by a passionate crowd at the Millenium Stadium, produced rugby that proved skill, flair and determination can still make a much bigger side look ordinary. Rarely have England played the type of expansive rugby that fans would love to see. And as a purist who wants to see beauty conquer the beast this was a victory for the game of rugby, not just the Welsh nation.
The post-match talking point was the predictable decision by Austin Healey to weasel out of his £1 bet with every member of the Welsh public. If everyone had taken him up on the bet that England would beat wales to win the Grand Slam – and many did – he could have lost as much as £3m.